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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Metabolic Set Point - When weight loss stalls

Is your weight loss stalled? 

Question: Kaye Bailey do you have an article or presentation on how our body's reach a set point? I find that my body is trying to reset the normal weight but higher than I want.

In our LivingAfterWLS Project 2014 Facebook group we are discussing MSP - Metabolic Set Point - in relation to our weight management efforts with weight loss surgery. This is a complex topic and I am working on a more extensive article to share with you. In the meantime here is a bit of a summary addressing the issue that confounds and frustrates us in the chase for goal weight after WLS.

If you haven't joined us yet hop on over to Facebook and join our Project 2014: Uniting like-minded people through education, support, and community, while promoting health sustainability and weight management with weight loss surgery.

Link to Facebook Group

by Kaye Bailey
I'd like to briefly mention a few things that contribute to metabolic set point and since most of our group is women I'll address the female biology more specifically.

MSP (Metabolic Set Point) is the rate at which the body burns energy and the popular "calories in/calories out" is not particularly accurate or representative. The MSP is a product of the food we eat, the exercise we do, the presence or absence of hormones including estrogen, ghrelin, testosterone, our age and gender, our reproductive stage of life, our history of weight loss/weight gain, and so much more. I am working on a full newsletter to cover these topics more completely.

Knowing how many ingredients are in each individual's MSP is key in understanding personal weight management independent of another person's weight management.  We do so much comparison and competing in weight management which leads to great frustration when we encounter a plateau that quite possibly is our personal set point. Our care providers (doctors, surgeons, nutritionists) set goal weight based on antiquated data. In addition, we ourselves set a goal weight that is often random and most often unrealistic (i.e., I want to weigh what I did when I got married, or was in high school, or weigh less than my husband or less than my pet zebra, or add your own reason).

 When I had surgery my goal weight was 135 (I really don't remember why) and I got there for about one joyous day. This was an impossible weight for me to maintain: I was miserable and so was everyone around me. Additionally I was hungry, tired, and weak and did I mention really cranky.  It turns out my set point is about 155: I've been stuck there for about 9 years. That's a long plateau! In my fantasy world I'd like to be 145 and 135 would rocket me to the moon. But the fact is - I am healthy at 155. I feel healthy, I look healthy, and I’m rarely cranky.  I haven't heard the old "Have you been sick?" question for years - feedback I got daily when I was 20 pounds lighter.

So, taking my experience and listening to so many of us over the years I've come to believe that finding our personal MSP is extremely liberating. If we can maintain a healthy weight, through conscious effort including consistent health-promoting choices, we avoid the misery of chasing unrealistic goals which lead to the further misery of yo-yo weight fluctuations. By this I do not mean settling for good enough weight loss, not in the least. I just think that when we lose a goodly amount of weight we must be ever vigilant to look for the signs that we have arrived at the destination of great health and personal content. And this destination is most likely different from the one we had in mind when we left on the journey.

so - that's all I'm giving up for now. I love this topic and I appreciate the opportunity to share some thoughts and look forward to presenting more information in greater depth. Thank you!

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